Learning visual art and Illustration is a journey with endless possible paths. Here I want to share the path I’ve taken from knowing absolutely nothing about drawing or painting, to building my skills, to throwing everything away and finding my visual language.
I’ve taken all these classes and more, but I don’t recommend those that are less interesting or that were a total waste of time.
I will talk about Domestika first but I will also add classes from Creative Bug and Skillshare
Domestika is a network of classes mostly in Spanish. They have recently introduced English speaking instructors and most of their classes are subtitled in English, Portuguese and German.
Now you can take classes from some of the most most recognized creatives that you might not know about because of the language barrier.
Their site is a treasure trove and they usually have amazing sales. A good tip: they have a lot of course packs that change often so check them out before buying individual classes. You can get three course for a super low price.
And if you register for a free account you might have access to some open classes for you to review before purchasing.
Artwork by Adolfo Serra
If you are just starting out, getting familiar with the different materials available, feeling no pressure to make perfect drawings or worse yet, getting hung up on drawing correctly is super important. This class allows you to explore freely and get in touch with your playful side. Nothing kills creativity more than wanting to go faster than you should. Check it out!
Artwork by Laura McKendry
This class focuses more on drawing from observation and is a great class to continue on the path of exploration but going into more skill-building territory. Laura is an excellent teacher. The class is more than 4 hours long and the wide variety of exercises will help you make leaps into a consistent practice.
Artwork by Roger Ycaza
Now that you have experimented and know what tools and supplies feel best in your hand you might want to complete a small project. I loved this class where the teacher takes you all the way from a spark of an idea to a completed concertina book. His creative process is wonderful and you’ll start getting the feel of what it’s like to use your tools to finish a creative project.
Using a Sketchbook as an Idea Garden
It took me many years to understand what a sketchbook is. We see those amazing sketchbook tours on video and we wonder how can anyone make page after page of beautiful art. Once I stopped buying expensive sketchbooks and settled on one type and one brand that was not so expensive, nor the cheapest of the cheap, I was able to start using it as an idea garden. These classes also helped a lot.
Sketchbook Creation Find your Own Language
Artwork by Santiago Guevara
Get familiar with the different types of sketchbooks and lots of inspiration. Create hybrid composites, use and reuse the drawings so you can squeeze all your ideas.
Artwork by Manuel Vargas
This class teaches you how to use a sketchbook to harvest ideas, how to use influences and inspiration images and make them yours, how to come up with a concept and how to take it to a final illustration using Photoshop. If you enjoy both analog and digital art this is a great combo.
Specific Mediums and Techniques
Experimental Watercolor Techniques for Beginners
Artwork by Ana Santos
If you are starting with watercolors and you want a good overview of techniques while creating a project you will be super happy to create over and over, this class is fantastic. It made me improve my watercolor panting tremendously.
Check it out here
Artwork by Elisa Alcalde Castro
If you want to paint still life with a contemporary feel, Elisa has created a wonderful class on how to put together real-life elements, take a photograph and work from it. She also gives you tips to make it even more your own. Her technique is very similar to using gouache so if you prefer gouache you can follow along and get even more vibrant colors.
Artwork by Lucía Coz
This is the best of two worlds, if you enjoy drawing but you also like to paint, Lucía teaches how she uses ink and gouache to create beautiful, imagery. I think of Lucía more of drawer than an illustrator but that’s just me. I enjoyed her class a lot especially her tips about drawing animals. Focusing on gesture to get more organic and flowy illustrations and artworks.
Tackle a Big Project
Artwork by Alejandra Acosta:
This class is almost four hours! You will learn so many different techniques including printmaking, collage and colour pencils. The most valuable aspect of this class is the creative process. Alejandra Acosta is one of those illustrators that does not pigeonhole herself. She creates amazing work in all sorts of styles and techniques. Super inspiring.
Artwork by Lucía Coz:
One of my absolute favourite classes. Not just about gouache and ink, but about how to conceptualize the simplest idea from your sketchbook. If you can’t decide whether to paint or draw this class combines both practices and you will be surprised at how much you can do with simple materials.
Apply What you Learned
Artwork by Violeta Hernández
This class has the word Fanzine in the title but what she does is an artist’s book. It’s way to beautiful to call it a zine. It has the potential of including your writing and fine art drawings. You can also play with the format of the paper.
Artwork by Missy Dunaway
I must say I didn’t consider myself a painter but this class changed that. I could paint and I could make very convincing paintings with acrylic ink. The advantage of this medium is that you can correct mistakes and change your mind as much as you want. Her method is really easy and the results are surprising. You can see some of my paintings here.